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Exploring the Sense of Sight

This week, we focused on the sense of sight. My favorite vision-related moment from the week is when I was giving my two year-old the "you better sit down in that chair right now” look, and she closed her eyes. Simple as that. If she can’t see visual "no-no" input from me, that means she can keep standing … right? Well, my science tyke is officially two now, so maybe I should be expecting this creativity.

Behavioral challenges aside, our sense of sight week was a fun one. Keeping in mind the “use what's around you already” lesson from last week, we started out with blocks. This week we separated the blocks by color. Classification is a great science process skill to develop at this age as toddlers are naturally doing it all the time. We talked together about which color each of our block towers was and which color block we would use next. We built symmetrical towers and talked about how we could add the same type and shape of block to each side.

I've also resolved to call three-dimensional cylinder and cube blocks what they are instead of calling them by simplified two-dimensional names, like circle or square blocks. In case you’re wondering what to call those other triangle and rectangle blocks, they're triangular and rectangular prisms. I enjoyed refreshing my own geometry knowledge through our sorting activity. That block I was always calling the half-moon? Turns out it's actually a half cylinder (which I now know thanks to the math teacher at the school where I work!)

So we separated the blocks by shapes too. Did she pick up all of those geometry terms? Heck no, not yet, but you can't learn words you aren't exposed to, so I thought, why not at least use them? I noticed my daughter building her tower with a different intention each time, telling me what colors she was choosing to use or grabbing all of the same shape. Maybe she was always doing this and I didn't notice before, but I think she was being intentional in new ways. I should also note that she continued to knock down her and my towers with the same gusto as before.

Another favorite visual activity this week was "find-it" books. Maybe you have a specific find-it type book, but you don't need to in order to do this activity. We used any book we were reading. As we looked at the pictures, I asked my daughter if she could find things that were certain colors or if she could find certain objects. Resist the urge to just tell them where things are. I was often tempted to just show her, but usually she either got there on her own or asked for help. And on the topic of books, two of our favorites on the five senses are My Five Senses by Aliki and My Five Senses by Aladdin. Now when we read them, we talk about specific experiences that we've had during these past two weeks. It's all connected.

My takeaways this week:

  • If you know the right vocabulary word for something, use it! Your tyke is learning so many new words every day. What seems like a big scary science word is just another word to them.
  • If you don't know the science/math word for something, ask! Ask friends, ask books, ask Google. Don’t be shy. Nobody knows everything.
  • Connect books to the experiences you're having. Your tyke will love to relive your adventures when you read.

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